Founder and CEO of the Paris Model Agency, Madame Frederique Laurage

The Paris Model Agency

Modelling as a profession was first established in Paris in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the “father of haute couture”, when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term “house model” was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs. With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling, some years later, it was around that time when then fashion entrepreneur, Ralph Laurage who at the time was a ghost designer with little or no recognition due to selling off his works and designs for rebranding to higher mainstream boutiques and brands for small fees to make ends meet came up with the idea of the Paris Model Agency. Although he was virtually broke at the time due to the contract agreements that waived all copyright and patents to his work/designs, he had spotted a gap in the market. He understood from a designer’s perspective that the clothes that he had designed failed to display their true beauty by themselves sitting on a shelf folded or draped on a mannequin lifeless. He knew that his work/designs came to life when they were worn by a live subject and that is how he not only made his alterations, but ultimately the final form to each of his creations. He realised that the model was the core and the key to his overall designs and that models were a necessity to the progression and future of not just the fashion industry but what would one day become the model industry. Unfortunately Ralph did not get to fulfill his dream as he died poor and broke. However, his granddaughter, Madame Frederique Laurage, who spent many years of her early childhood playing in his workshop would breathe life into his dream by establishing the Paris Model Agency in 1959. With over 100 years of combined experience, dating back to the beginning of the industry and built on humble tradition & passionate heritage, the Paris Model Agency today is one of the oldest running model agencies in the world.